Drownproofing

I remember being fourteen years old
and canoeing with my cousin
over “the mighty Escatawpa”

We were having trouble figuring out
the steering
so the others were well
ahead

And we came to a glass calm
still spot

This spot was so still
that the sky was reflected
perfectly
and the water looked
as deep as the sky
was high

And I felt a sudden panic
that I was in water
too deep for me

Which shouldn’t have mattered
since I could swim
and if you can swim in ten feet
you can swim in ten thousand

Today
I’m trying to keep it
“right here”
in that happy middle place –
not too high, and not
too low

Which sounds healthy
at first

But keeping it
“right here”
when I’m feeling low
sounds like I don’t
know how to swim

And keeping it
“right here”
when I’m going high
feels a bit criminal

No. Nobody told me
my highs were too high
or my lows were too low

I just like to keep things
in check –
like my calorie intake,
and my activity levels,
and my emotions,
and what people think about me….

Today I am tempted to take
the tether off my high
and see how high it wants to go

Because it seems to me
that if you can fly
you are just as safe
at ten thousand feet
as ten

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